At Cancun, 'Climate Change Experts' Call for End to Developed World Economic Growth for 'The Next 20 Years'

November 29th, 2010 10:18 AM

This would be really funny if it weren't for the fact that so many supposedly informed people, including our president and those who surround him, may actually buy into ideas being proposed at the United Nations-sponsored Cancun climate conference, and will relish the means by which they could be put into place.

At the UK Telegraph today, environment correspondent Louise Gray feeds us the following headline and sub-headline:

Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world

Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions.

From all appearances, such rationing would last at least two decades, during which there would be, by design, no economic growth. Zero, zip, nada.

Here are selected paragraphs from Gray's grouse (bolds and number tags are mine):

In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, physicists and chemists from some of world’s most respected scientific institutions, including Oxford University and the Met Office, agreed that current plans to tackle global warming are not enough.


Unless emissions are reduced dramatically in the next ten years the world is set to see temperatures rise by more than 4C (7.2F) by as early as the 2060s, causing floods, droughts and mass migration. [1]


... In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years. [2]


This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles [2] for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less ‘carbon intensive’ goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.


... He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s. [3]


... Prof Anderson insisted that halting growth in the rich world does not necessarily mean a recession or a worse lifestyle, [2] it just means making adjustments in everyday life such as using public transport and wearing a sweater rather than turning on the heating.


... At the moment efforts are focused on trying to get countries to cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 relative to 1990 levels. [4]


But Dr Myles Allen, of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, said this might not be enough. He said that if emissions do not come down quick enough even a slight change in temperature will be too rapid for ecosystems to keep up.

A suggestion for Prof. Anderson and Dr. Allen: You first, guys. If you commit for the next 20 years not to use a computer or any kind of wireless communication device, and only to travel via public transportation, we might listen. Too harsh for self-appointed elitists like you? Too bad.

Specific notes:

  • [1] -- Climategate, "The Dog Ate My Global Warming Data," other clear breaches of scientific protocol and objectivity, and the inherent limitations of relying on computer models to predict what will happen in a complex world make this claim speculative at best, and needless scaremongering at worst.
  • [2] -- Within just a few paragraphs, 20 years of no economic growth means "drastic lifestyle changes" but somehow not "a worse lifestyle." Really?
  • [3] -- By describing them as having occurred "in the 1930s and 1940s," Ms. Gray makes the World War II-related rationing regimes appear worse than they were. They lasted six years at most, less than one-third of the two decades desired by the self-appointed experts. Patriotism reined in the black market to an extent during World War II. It will require a police state to restrain the black market that will result from a government-enforced, popularly-opposed scam during peacetime. Perhaps statists consider that a feature, not a bug.
  • [4] -- "Cutting emissions by 50% relative to 1990" is cynically manipulative math at its worst. Since worldwide emissions have grown by about 35% since 1990, cutting back to 1990 levels would really require a reduction of 63% (.85 divided by 1.35). Gullible environment correspondents are apparently a bit more likely to swallow the idea of a falsely-advertised 50% reduction than one that in reality, after considering population growth, involves per-capita reductions approaching 70%.

As noted earlier, the fact that there are people in positions of power and responsibility who either buy into globaloney (my term for human-caused global warming) or, in certain cases, unapologetically see it as a convenient opportunity for engaging in wealth redistribution, means that nonsense such as what is emanating from Cancun can't be ignored.

Cross-posted at